Texas' 2011 Season as Predicted by 'NCAA 12'
Simulating the Longhorns season, video-game style
By Will Eidam,
5:30AM, Sat. Sep. 3, 2011
If I had told you last year that the Texas Longhorns would finish their football season with a 5-7 record, you would have done one of two things. Either you would have sent me to a psychiatric ward to get my head examined, or you would have stayed away from watching Longhorn football that season.
Well, I can’t tell you with full confidence that the Longhorns will be better this year, but I can tell you that they couldn’t be any worse, right?
So to give you a look at the season before it begins (tonight, 7pm at home against against Rice), I’m providing you with insight that only an amateur blogger like myself can give: I’m providing the results of a simulated season from the video game NCAA Football 2012.*
* It should be noted that had I done this last year, Texas would likely have finished a simulated season 10-1 and probably headed to a BCS Bowl. So take these following findings with the tiniest grain of salt.
Week 1: No. 22 Texas vs. Rice
Texas wins 31-14
Before the beginning of the season, I adjusted Texas’ depth chart to mirror that of the real life program’s depth chart for the Rice game. That meant I had to move Cody Johnson to the fullback position, as opposed to halfback, where NCAA had him. I would have thought that would have diminished his role on the team, but I guess Mack Brown loves the fullback now. Twenty-one carries for 116 yards and three touchdowns. Not a bad start for the bruiser.
For those of you clamoring for Case McCoy to start, sorry to say that Garrett Gilbert got the nod, but happy to report that McCoy saw some action when Gilbert went down with an injury in the third. Case went 7-13 and Gilbert went 12-20. The debate on who to start rages on.
Week 2: No. 21 Texas vs. BYU
Texas loses 23-24
Time to put Gilbert on the hot seat. Down 24-0 at the half, Texas rallied back in the second, making it 24-10 after a seven-yard pass from Gilbert to Mike Davis. But I guess Brown didn’t like what he saw and put McCoy back behind center for the fourth quarter, which led to a 10-yard scamper for a TD and a nine-yard slant to DeSean Hales to bring Texas within one.
With 1:29 to go in the game, and Texas down by one after the Hales TD, Mack decides it’s time to put an exclamation point to this comeback by going for two. Instead of taking momentum into overtime, Mack chooses to let Cody Johnson gets stuffed at the line, Texas loses it’s first game of the season.
During the week after: Mack announces Case McCoy will be the new starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns. Local radio rejoices with plenty to talk about.
Week 3: Texas at UCLA
Texas wins 24-19
Looks likes it’s going to be a long season of near heart attacks for Longhorn fans. Vegas has Texas 0-3 covering the spread and no one likes disappointing Vegas like Mack Brown.
Case McCoy doesn’t impress, but he gets the job done; 15-36 for 97 yards and two TDs, 15 rushing attempts for 58 yards and another TD.
Week 5: Texas at Iowa State
Texas wins 28-16
I don’t want to write about this game any more than you want to read about it. I mean, it’s Iowa State for crying out loud.
Week 6: Texas vs. No. 2 Oklahoma: Red River Shootout**
Texas loses 40-14
Well, you could probably see where this one was going, right?
Oklahoma collects 621 total yards of offense vs. Texas’ 292 and plays mistake-free football.
Case has his first rough outing and gets pulled after the first half. McCoy gets the job back immediately as Gilbert throws two picks in the second half.
At some point I’ll report on how the Texas defense is doing this season … as soon as they do something that’s worth reporting.
**It will always be the “Shootout” to me. Just like wrestling will always be real for this guy.
Week 7: Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Texas loses 28-32
After six games, Texas is 3-3. Last year at this time, they were 4-2, coming off a huge win in Lincoln vs. the Big Ten-bound Cornhuskers. That’s the bad news.
Good news: You signed five-star defensive tackle Travis Robinson! I know, it’s hard to get excited about signing fictional defensive tackles, but it’s all I’ve got for you right now.
Week 9: Texas vs. Kansas
Texas wins 45-7
Just when you thought you were in the dumps, you get reminded that Kansas is still in your conference. This walloping is exactly what Texas needed.
Despite Kansas getting more first downs than Texas (19-14), the Longhorns played mistake free and forced four turnovers, one of which was an interception by Jordan Hicks that he returned 35 yards to the house.
Week 10: Texas vs. Texas Tech
Texas wins 28-14
Week 11: Texas at Missouri
Texas loses 24-48
Week 12: Texas vs. Kansas State
Texas wins 24-10
At this point, Texas is 5-3 and their BCS chances are gone. They’ve already matched their win total from last year (which is nothing to brag about), so now all they’re really looking forward to is the Week 13 matchup vs. the fleeing cowards from College Station, who just happen to be ranked second in the nation.
Did I just say that Texas A&M is ranked second in the nation? And Texas (6-4) has a shot to take them down?! Yes, yes I did.
See, you already forgot about the three games I chose to ignore.
Week 13: Texas at No. 2 Texas A&M Texas loses 11-27
I remember last year when Texas beat Nebraska. Texas never really cared about Nebraska, but nothing gave the Longhorn fans more pleasure that year than beating the team that was fleeing the conference. Not only that, but Cornhusker fans were so revved up for the game that you knew how much it hurt them when they lost to their hated opponent from the South.
Now I’m no genius, but I have a pretty good feeling that’s how it’s going to be when Texas A&M plays their (possible) final Big 12 game against Texas this year, in College Station no less. It will be interesting to see how the Aggie fans act when Texas comes to down for one last hurrah.
And in this simulation, the 12th man was in fine form on that November night. Texas couldn’t get anything going and Heisman candidate Ryan Tannenhill shined with 466 yards passing to go along with his two TDs. Thanks to no Conference Championship, at 12-0, A&M is not only headed to the SEC (come on, we all know that’s where they’re going), but also headed to the national championship game.
It was over before it began. Seemingly just like this season.
Texas at Baylor Texas wins 35-25
You already lost to Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Do you really care that you beat Baylor? Let’s just get to the bowl game.
Texas Bowl: Texas (7-5) vs. No. 22 Michigan (8-4) Texas loses 18-25
The great part about a bowl game for a team’s fan base is the excuse for them to travel and plan a vacation around an important game that defines their team’s season. In Texas’ case, their vacation is in Houston.
So yeah, it was pretty hard for Texas to get excited about this game, even if it was against another traditional powerhouse in Michigan.
The game was even throughout. Texas had a better time possession, played mistake free, had more first downs, but Michigan was able to convert more effectively in the Red Zone (five trips, three TDs, one FG) than Texas could (five trips, five FG).
Case McCoy finished the game going 14-40 with only 152 yards passing. Ouch.
All that means is that the 2012 season is going to have just as many questions as the 2011 did.
A few other notes:
-Case McCoy ranked 105th in passing yards. I can’t even name 105 teams in the nation.
– Fullback Cody Johnson led the team in rushing with 709 yards. That was good for 120th in the nation.
– Defensive tackle Kheeston Randall was a bright spot on the squad this year, racking up 10.5 sacks on the season, ranking him third in the nation.
– Have no fear, Boise State defeated A&M 31-28 to win the National Championship. Then again, Boise State won the National Championship? Yeah, stay in fear.
– After this simulation and two other seasons that I’ve finished, Case Keenum has won the Heisman every team, even in seasons that I played in. Fifty-four total TDs. I need to head to Vegas right now and put money on him winning the trophy. I see no other worthy option.
– If I can end on a high note: Texas finished with the top-ranked recruiting class of 2011. Some things never change.